Marathon County Public Library

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Staff Reviews / Book Reviews

Check out these book reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring reviews of fiction and nonfiction for adults, children and teens! These book reviews also are published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.

"The Dressmaker" by Kate Alcott

'The Dressmaker' by Kate Alcott

★★★★★ Tess longs to escape a life of servitude. She knows that her talent should make her more than just a maid, but her beautiful dressmaking skills go unappreciated and unrewarded by her current employer. On impulse, she grabs her few belongings and runs for the docks where she has heard there are jobs available on a fancy new ship that is about to set sail. Sadly, all the jobs are taken but she is determined to make this voyage happen. Her pe ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "The Dressmaker" at Goodreads.com. »

"Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography" by Meryle Secrest

'Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography' by Meryle Secrest

★★★★ This well-written biography provides a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. The fiery Italian was a rival of Coco Chanel, good friend of Salvador Dali, and a mentor to Hubert De Givenchy. Schiaparelli created the famous lobster print dress that Wallis Simpson wore after she married the Duke of Windsor, and designed wrap dresses long before Diane von Furstenberg. Although I enjoyed looking at th ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography" at Goodreads.com. »

"Big Bad Detective Agency - Library Edition" by Bruce Hale

'Big Bad Detective Agency - Library Edition' by Bruce Hale

★★★★ Things were going well in Fairylandia for a reformed Wolfgang, a.k.a. the “Big Bad Wolf”, until the Three Little Pigs’ houses were vandalized and he is accused. Arrested and released, he reluctantly teams up with Ferkel, the fourth little pig, and as the new “Big Bad Detective Agency” they set off to find the perpetrator. Things get really funny when they question Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Goldilocks, Jack (but not his bean ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Big Bad Detective Agency - Library Edition" at Goodreads.com. »

"I Was Here" by Gayle Forman

'I Was Here' by Gayle Forman

★★★★★ Cody has a best friend who decides to commit suicide, seemingly out of nowhere. She goes on a journey of discovery to learn what drove her friend to such a decision while also meeting many others who are also affected by the same loss. What Cody learns about deciding to exist in her new world is the beautiful revelation of this wonderful book. The author of this book has a master's hand at depicting emotions and reality unlike anyone else ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "I Was Here" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken: The Next Misadventure (Chicken Squad Adventure, #2)" by Doreen Cronin

'The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken: The Next Misadventure (Chicken Squad Adventure, #2)' by Doreen Cronin

★★★★ The Chicken Squad is a group of four hilarious chicks who are out to solve crime. When a blue jay, the weird blue chicken, flies in saying his house has been kidnapped, the Chicken Squad embarks on a journey to figure out who took the birdhouse and why. Filled with funny characters and an entertaining plot, this book is a great beginning chapter book for early readers. The illustrations by Kevin Cornell add to the story and Doreen Cronin b ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken: The Next Misadventure (Chicken Squad Adventure, #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe" by Lisa Small

'Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe' by Lisa Small

★★★★★ Shoe lovers, this is the book for you! Based on the information gathered for an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, this beautiful book is a photographic and short essay history of the high heel. From its fascinating origins to its present day art form, the high heel has been a status symbol for men and women, functional footwear, and a highly controversial fashion accessory. The deep meaning behind something as simple as a shoe can be astound ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe" at Goodreads.com. »

"Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics" by Chloe Coscarelli

'Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics' by Chloe Coscarelli

★★★★★ This is another fantastic vegan cookbook! Countless pasta, soup, and pizza recipes, as well as delicious desserts had me hooked. You no longer have to give up on the idea of alfredo sauce, gelato, biscotti, or any other of your Italian favorites. Coming from an Italian who can't have any more soy, dairy, or egg, (but who's favorite food is authentic gelato) this cookbook was a dream come true! Included are multiple (and uncomplicated!) rec ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics" at Goodreads.com. »

"Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish" by Betty Rosbottom

'Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish' by Betty Rosbottom

★★★★★ If you love one-dish meals, this cookbook is for you. The photography in this book is beautiful and elevates the humble casserole from everyday dining to haute cuisine. I found all of the recipes easy to follow, and the first chapter contains useful tips and tricks for creating the perfect casserole. I have already made several of the recipes, and my favorite is Leila's Venetian Chicken with Porcini Mushrooms and Fontina. All the recipes c ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish" at Goodreads.com. »

"Absolutely Almost" by Lisa Graff

'Absolutely Almost' by Lisa Graff

★★★★ Ten-year-old Albie’s life is a tangled one and the short, episodic chapters in this tween book mimic this. He is adjusting to a new public school and a new nanny, Calista (whom he’s certain he does not need). Private prep school did not work out and his dad is not happy about it. Albie’s life is full of “almosts”—he almost passes his spelling tests, he’s almost good at tetherball, almost cool at school, and almost makes his ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Absolutely Almost" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston

'The Hot Zone' by Richard   Preston

★★★★★ Stephen King considers this one of the most horrifying books he has ever read! Probably because it is nonfiction and relates the tale of death and destruction by the deadliest animals on earth. Those animals are also some of the smallest animals, the fatal virus Ebola and some of its close relatives. The author traces back the devastating and bloody trail of the first known occurrence of the Marburg and Ebola virus. Catching either of thes ...

Reviewed by Karen J. Read more reviews of "The Hot Zone" at Goodreads.com. »

"Little Humans" by Brandon Stanton

'Little Humans' by Brandon Stanton

★★★★ From the author and photographer of the well-known blog "Humans of New York" comes a great picture book that celebrates the uniqueness, abilities, and diversity of the littlest humans--children. Brandon Stanton's photographs capture children doing everyday things like walking down the street, riding a bicycle, playing in the street, and making music. This is a great read aloud for children of all-ages that celebrates all of the things litt ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "Little Humans" at Goodreads.com. »

"Beyond the Laughing Sky" by Michelle Cuevas

'Beyond the Laughing Sky' by Michelle Cuevas

★★★★ In this rather unusual tale a young couple, whose house is perched in a large pecan tree, discover a baby in a cracked egg from a bird’s nest on the sidewalk. This human-looking baby has feathers for hair and no mouth or nose but in its place a beak. His adopted parents, sister, and the small community of Goosepimple adapt to life with him, but as he grows and goes to school his life becomes more difficult and he longs to fly. This shor ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Beyond the Laughing Sky" at Goodreads.com. »

"Pegasus" by Danielle Steel

'Pegasus' by Danielle Steel

★★★★★ Nicolas von Bingen and Alex von Hemmerle live in a world we can only imagine. As titled members of the German aristocracy, they are free to spend their time hunting, training horses, enjoying their friends and family, and living the good life. Their world of privilege comes to a screeching halt as Hitler rises in power. Nicolas discovers an old family secret that sends him and his boys scrambling for a way to leave Nazi controlled Germany. ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Pegasus" at Goodreads.com. »

"First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)" by Sarah Addison Allen

'First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)' by Sarah Addison Allen

★★★★★ In this enchanting novel we meet the Waverly family, an odd but close knit family in Bascom, North Carolina, who are gifted with mysterious and magical talents. Among a few, Claire can make food that affects the emotions of others while her niece knows where people and things belong. At the heart of this novel is the love of two sisters who are fighting to figure out who they are, and the wonderful family who supports them. The author of t ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner" by Kristy Turner

'But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner' by Kristy Turner

★★★★★ This is a fantastic and entertaining cookbook for anyone looking to begin or add to a vegan (or similar) diet! Not only are the recipes eye-catching, but the author even titles her chapters after common misconceptions against a plant based diet (such as "I could never give up cheese!", "Where would I get my protein?", and "It's all rabbit food.") and then includes recipes that prove them wrong. I personally loved the dessert ideas, the "Bu ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner" at Goodreads.com. »

"Humans of New York" by Brandon Stanton

'Humans of New York' by Brandon Stanton

★★★★★ Chances are if you are on any type of social media, then you've probably been exposed to the fabulous photography of Humans of New York. While working as a bond trader in Chicago in January 2010, Stanton discovered a passion for photography. When his job ended, he decided to do something crazy and take up photography full time. He decided to go from city to city photographing whatever he found interesting. What he discovered was that he wa ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Humans of New York" at Goodreads.com. »

"Greenglass House" by Kate Milford

'Greenglass House' by Kate Milford

★★★★ The old historic, creaky smugglers’ inn called GreenGlass House sits high on a hill requiring guests to take a trolley type of car that gets pulled to the top. It is winter, close to the holidays, and usually free of guests so Milo, the adopted son of the innkeepers, is looking forward to a relaxing vacation. But unexpectedly the buzzer for the trolley car keeps ringing as several individual guests begin arriving. Their stories are varie ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Greenglass House" at Goodreads.com. »

"Some Luck" by Jane Smiley

'Some Luck' by Jane Smiley

★★★★★ This engrossing novel brings us into the lives of the Langdon family living on a farm in Iowa. We are swept along as their lives unfold and their world changes from the 1920s to the 1950s. We begin when Walter, a WWI veteran, and Rosanna are young newlyweds, expecting their first child. Each chapter brings with it a new year and more changes as the family grows and Walter and Rosanna try to raise their children with strong values and succe ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Some Luck" at Goodreads.com. »

"Snowman's Story" by Will Hillenbrand

'Snowman's Story' by Will Hillenbrand

★★★★ Your preschool child can tell the story to you with this wordless picture book featuring a sweet snowman, cute bunny and a wandering top hat. Bunny finds a hat and crawls inside but when bear finds it and uses it to top the snowman that he is building, he is unaware that a bunny is inside. Apparently bunny likes stories too so after the snowman reads to the forest animals and falls asleep, bunny steals his book and runs away. The chase is ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Snowman's Story" at Goodreads.com. »

"Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink" by Gail Carson Levine

'Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink' by Gail Carson Levine

★★★★ Ever been thinking about writing but don't know where to start? Or there's a step in the process or question that you're dying to ask an author? This was a new children's nonfiction book about writing that I found even applicable to me. I thought it was a great exploration of the process and the questions that arise when you're trying to write! ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink" at Goodreads.com. »

"Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living" by Deanna Caswell

'Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living' by Deanna Caswell

★★★★ Looking to make your own homemade skin care or cleaning products, or start a co-op, or want tips on gardening? This is a great resource for those wanting to be more self-sufficient in any setting, or those who want to make cheaper homemade products free of chemicals. It includes sections on raising animals (like bees and goats), gardening, starting your own co-op with neighbors, and many different ways to make your own homemade products, w ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living" at Goodreads.com. »

"The War that Saved My Life" by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

'The War that Saved My Life' by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

★★★★★ 10-year-old Ada lives with her brother Jamie and mother in a filthy, rat infested one-room flat in London. She is often abused by her mother who does not allow her to go outside because her mother is ashamed of her clubfoot. When Jamie is being shipped off with other children to the country to avoid injury from bombings during the war, Ada escapes to join him. When Susan Smith, a women still grieving a recent death is forced to take them i ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The War that Saved My Life" at Goodreads.com. »

"Stella by Starlight" by Sharon M. Draper

'Stella by Starlight' by Sharon M. Draper

★★★★ It is midnight when 11 year-old Stella Mills and her eight year-old brother Jojo witness the burning of a cross by members of the Ku Klux Klan not far from their house. It’s 1932 in Bumblebee, North Carolina and news of the active Klan so close by means their parents need to alert all their African-American neighbors. Stella is practicing to be a good writer, records local stories, and often goes outside where she can think better which ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Stella by Starlight" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend" by Dan Santat

'The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend' by Dan Santat

★★★★★ On an island far away, imaginary friends are born. Beekle is one of them, waiting to be chosen by a child and transported to the real world. Rather than waiting, Beekle does the unimaginable and sets sail to the real world. He finds that the real world is strange and uncomfortable, until he meets his perfect friend. Then the world is colorful , fun, and not so strange. This is a fantastic book about finding your place in the big, bustling, ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend" at Goodreads.com. »

"Cloche and Dagger (Hat Shop Mystery, #1)" by Jenn McKinlay

'Cloche and Dagger (Hat Shop Mystery, #1)' by Jenn McKinlay

★★★★★ This is an excellent new series that takes place in London. We meet Scarlett, a woman who becomes an overnight Internet sensation when she very publicly runs into her boyfriend celebrating his anniversary with his (surprise!) wife. Fleeing to London to join her cousin and claiming her half in a hat shop store she inherited, Scarlett finds even more surprises. Not only is her cousin missing, but days later Scarlett finds a prominent custome ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Cloche and Dagger (Hat Shop Mystery, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

25 | Based on the Goodreads API.